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For Immediate Release, December 18, 2012

Contact:  Rose Braz, (510) 435-6809 or  

Portland, Maine, Joins National Call for Climate Change Action

City Urges EPA to Use Clean Air Act to Cut Greenhouse Gas Pollution 

PORTLAND, Maine— On the heels of news that 2012 will likely be the hottest year on record in the continental United States, Portland, Maine, has become the 45th U.S. community to call on President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to use the Clean Air Act to cut greenhouse gas pollution that is raising the risk of extreme weather events and worsening climate change. The Portland City Council passed a resolution on Monday, joining cities such as Miami, Fla., Wilmington, Del., and Salt Lake City, Utah, as part of the Center for Biological Diversity’s national Clean Air Cities campaign.

“Portland is vulnerable to storm surges and extreme weather events, like Hurricane Sandy, that are driven by global climate change,” said Councilor David A. Marshall, who introduced the Clean Air Cities resolution. “We are eager to see the EPA use the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas pollution across the U.S. to counter the alarming trend of extreme weather.”

“I applaud Portland’s leaders for urging federal action against climate chaos,” said Portland resident Russell Pierce, who helped spearhead the resolution. “In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we need urgent action to reduce the greenhouse gas pollution that is driving up extreme weather risk. That’s why cities across the country want the Environmental Protection Agency to make full use of the Clean Air Act against carbon emissions.”

“Portland’s leaders understand the threats posed by climate change and support one key solution: the Clean Air Act,” said Rose Braz, the Center’s climate campaign director. “Communities around the country, from Albany to Los Angeles and now Portland, are sending an urgent message to our national leaders. To avert a climate crisis, we need immediate action under the Clean Air Act.”
Last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that it appears “virtually certain” that 2012 will be the hottest year on record in the continental United States. Hurricane Sandy has drawn renewed attention to extreme weather concerns. Global warming, scientists say, is increasing America’s risk of damage from superstorms. Hotter ocean temperatures add more energy to storms, and warmer air holds more moisture, causing storms to dump more rainfall. Storm surges are rising on top of higher sea levels, so more coastline floods during storms. Sea levels are rising 60 percent faster than expected, according a study published last month in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Portland faces a significant risk of flooding from sea-level rise and storm surge, according to analysis by experts with Climate Central. Maine has a 36 percent chance of a 100-year flood or worse by 2030 — a risk multiplied more than three times by global warming.

The Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign is working around the country to encourage cities to pass resolutions supporting the Clean Air Act and using the Act to reduce carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million, the level scientists say is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Similar resolutions have been approved in Albany and Ithaca, N.Y.; Berkeley, Santa Monica, Culver City, Arcata, Oxnard, Santa Cruz, Richmond, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New Hope Borough, Pa.; Tucson, Ariz.; Boone, N.C.; Keene, N.H.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Milwaukee and Madison, Wis.; Cambridge and Northampton, Mass.; Cincinnati and Oberlin, Ohio; Santa Fe, N.M.; Kansas City, Mo.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Miami, Pinecrest, Tampa and Gulfport, Fla.; Chicago, Ill.; Teton County, Wyo.; Eugene, Ore.; Nashville, Tenn.; Kauai, Hawaii; Boulder, Colo.; Burlington, Vt.; and Detroit, Mich.; Wilmington, Del.; Providence, R.I.; Gary, Ind., and Woodbridge, N.J. Several other cities around the country will be considering resolutions over the next few months.

Learn more about the Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign and get the facts about the Clean Air Act.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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